Is it all lost?

My favorite of Raphael's paintings

  In the Galleria Borghese today, we saw several paintings by Raphael, one of the titans of the Italian Renaissance -- who died on or near his thirty-seventh birthday. At the base of the Spanish Steps, we saw the house in which the English poet John Keats died, at the age of twenty-five. So much talent.  So much unfulfilled potential. It's not an argument for life after death, of course.  But it's certainly a reason why we might hope t … [Read more...]

“Papal conclaves offer not only pageantry but living history”

The coat of arms of the Holy See during the "sede vacante" ("the seat/throne being empty") of 2013 -- no longer the papal arms of Benedict XVI, and not yet the pall arms of the as-yet-unelected Francis

   Given where I'm sitting right now -- just outside the walls of Vatican City -- it seems appropriate to revisit this Hamblin/Peterson Deseret News column, which first went up between the retirement of Pope Benedict XVI and the election of the current Pope Francis:  Posted from Rome, Italy    … [Read more...]

Willingly making life worse than it needs to be

A front page of "Die Zeit" from 2006

  Sitting in Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport yesterday while waiting for our connecting flight to Rome, I picked up a copy of the latest edition of the respected German weekly newspaper Die Zeit. I was struck by a couple of the articles that I read. In one, a piece by Berrit Gräber entitled "Auch eine wilde Ehe braucht Regeln," the author interviewed a number of legal and financial experts concerning the very grave risks run by those couples who, … [Read more...]

At Vatican City

St. Peter's Basilica by night (Click to enlarge.  Click again to enlarge further.)

  After a really good shared meal of bruschetta, spaghetti, ravioli, and salad  -- I'm not a big fan of Italian food in the United States, but I love it in Italy; there's something subtly different about it here -- my wife and niece and I strolled around most of the Vatican walls, eventually entering the Piazza di San Pietro for a magnificent nighttime view of St. Peter's basilica.  Then, not wanting to surrender to jet lag just yet, we walked down … [Read more...]

New entry on “Mormon Scholars Testify”

A scene on the campus of Rutgers University, the state university of New Jersay (Click to enlarge.)

  There is a new entry on Mormon Scholars Testify.  This one is from Dr. Frank McIntyre, who teaches economics at Rutgers University in New Jersey:  Posted from Rome, Italy    … [Read more...]

Reflecting on Rome

In the ruins of the Roman forum

  Augustus Caesar famously remarked, according to Suetonius, that he found Rome a city of brick -- but left it a city of marble. A good thing, right? Maybe. Maybe not. Was the old Republic, of brick and sturdy Roman virtue and an independent Senate, something best left behind in favor of an expanding Empire under autocratic rule? (Maybe an oversimplification, but, still, not altogether wrong.)Was Caligula … [Read more...]

What to pack

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008)

  “Own only what you can always carry with you: know languages, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag.” -Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn   … [Read more...]

Counsel from Elder Holland

Absolutely true

    … [Read more...]